MODELS.com presents One Interviews: Mariano Vivanco interview by Christopher Michael @ One Management.
All photos: courtesy of Mariano Vivanco
Christopher Michael: Peruvian, hot blooded, forever smiling and filled with excitement…this is Mariano Vivanco to me. Cinematic, vivacious, erotic, sharp, ethereal and bold is his work. How would you explain these two sides of the one that makes up all that is You?
Mariano Vivanco: LOL, oh my God that is quite an introduction. Thank you! Well I think you summed me up quite well! Yes, my outer self is happy and positive and inside my head there are lots of images, ideas and moods floating around. I get ideas from absolutely everything and everywhere. It might sound cliche, but I am a like a sponge. My creative process comes through instinct.
CM: I find that Film is an increasingly popular medium amongst today’s working fashion photographers, and also something that you’ve been playing with for some time now. One of my favorites of yours of course is the Bridget Hall JEM Story accompanied by the HOLE soundtrack, all too good! Do you have any plans of which we are not yet aware for this film work of yours moving forward?
MV: It was so much fun to work with Bridget, so professional and sweet. Yeah, I bought a movie camera about 4 years ago, and again I had this huge intuition to get one. I just thought, heck I am doing this catalogue with all my favorite male models (David Gandy, Clark, Sam Way….) I need more than just pictures, I need moving images. It all made sense to me shortly after that, it’s the natural evolution of our business, the moving image… People today are just not satisfied (in my opinion) with a still image (although to capture “The decisive moment” will always be a huge skill and will never go away). The moving image feeds the hunger of the younger, quicker and smarter generation. I have been working at perfecting my skills with the moving image, and every shoot I do (film crew wise) keeps getting larger and larger! I really love it, an important client of mine just hired me for their campaign and also for a TV commercial for them, so I am really happy about this.
CM: Congratulations, that’s quite a speedy progress… Dazed, as it has with so many other talents, has played a wonderful role in your career..how did this relationship come about?
MV: I was in London for a couple of years, and I had a look at all the magazines that where about. Dazed really stood out. It was really cool, street and interesting. A friend introduced me to them, and I begun working for them. Simple as that. Since then I have worked with all the main contributing editors for the magazine, I love Dazed and Jefferson, he has been hugely supportive of me. Also, before them, no other magazine had given me that trust. Which other magazine would have let me do a story based on the 80’s cartoon Jem!? In that story, Bridget Hall played the lead character, while Kylie Bax and Anne V played the Misfits…LOL…I still laugh (fondly) when I think of that! That was 2 years ago now. Each girl did a video. It was so much fun, and it taught me to not to take yourself (or your work) too seriously!
Photos courtesy of Mariano Vivanco
CM: Agreed, if you can’t laugh at yourself you are dead anyway right? Your work with boys & girls is quite different for the most part..I find that you shoot men from an extremely sensual and pure point of view..evoking thoughts of idealistic beauty and raw eroticism along the way. Whereas your images of Women tend to empower, inspire and be shot from a point of view of great strength and confidence. Leaving men as the passive and women as the dominant almost…Am I hallucinating this perception or do you find this to ring true in your work?
MV: Again, that is a great observation, and you are right. I guess with men I just watch and with women I relate. Sometimes they cross over; my women can be very sensual and sexual, and my men can also be from a fashion point of view.
CM: Despite your obvious obsession with the fashion side of fashion, you also have quite the interest in Celebrity…in our field we always talk about what a model has that a Celebrity may not when working on set for a shoot. Lets turn the tables, what do you find Celebrities bring to the set when working for a magazine that perhaps you don’t always get from a Model? If there is something…
MV: I have to be clear with something, I love and respect celebrities, but they will never be models. Our models are like our characters in fashion, our “actors”. On the whole, the celebrity thing has kind of pushed them back a bit. But I am sure they will swing to the foreground sometime soon. What do celebrities bring to the equation? They are usually very driven and interesting people who have lived full lives and have had to utilize their intellect and intelligence to get where they are, not just their looks. They usually have big characters and are very self aware, and thus, make great pictures very quickly. They have a different energy. To me when I shoot a celebrity it’s a challenge. I usually have to break them down in one way or another to make my pictures work. I recently shot Megan Fox for the cover of Wonderland and I have to say, not only was she much more than beautiful, she was…. Amazing! I had a great time working with her!!
CM: At this point in your career, how much is decided by your agent and how much is up to you in regards to whether or not you shoot for a new publication?
MV: It is always a talk we have together. I would love to shoot for everybody everyday, but I simply can’t. Photo shoots are usually costly for one, and also the relationship with a magazine is a considered thing.
CM: You’ve already done many times over what some photographer’s take a lifetimes work to finally produce, and that is put out Books of your work… As this is something that personally interests me I’m quite curious to find out how this came about for you, and what creative process was demanded of you in the making of these books…
MV: The first 5 books where direct commissions, actually. For my first book, “Calcio” for Dolce Gabbana, Domenico Dolce said, “You have 21 days to complete this book: shoot, print, retouch and layout” I took the challenge, did not sleep, did not eat and lost my sanity for at bit…. I was shooting in as many as 3 different cities around Europe, in ONE day! Honestly, to this day I have never done anything like that, but it taught me many lessons. One in particular: to listen to my instincts to get the shot.
My latest book “Ninety Five Chapel Market” (the actual address where I first lived in London) is a collection of all the model portfolios I did when I first arrived in London. I worked for Select, Storm, Next, Models 1 and many more. This is how I started in London. Sienna Miller, Lily Cole, David Gandy, Anna J, Jamie Dornan and many more, all passed by my apartment first. The photos and polaroids were just sitting in a box, and I would take them out from time to time to have a look. Nicki Bidder (the then Editor in Chief of Dazed and Confused) suggested that I do another gallery showing, and I thought maybe those photos would be good. I was gonna do a small fanzine type of book, but it grew. To answer your question, as a photographer you always have this incredible urge to have the world see your work and maybe, feel what you feel. I think it is really important to give something back and I donated all the proceeds of the book to the children’s ward of The Barts and London Hospital.
CM: Charity, another incredible concept, Bravo. I think everyone with a voice in fashion should be involved in at least one Charity…After using a number of different mediums in your creative works to date, the world is left wondering…what shall we see next from Mr Vivanco??
MV: LOL, who knows. I am having a great time with all that I am doing and I am very grateful for that, so let’s see!!!